5 Ways to Stop Wasting Time

The following post is from Lisa of Working Naked:

source: alancleaver_2000

Last week I asked my best friend what she wanted for her birthday and she said, “more hours in the day.”

I’m a savvy shopper, but even I don’t know of any store, online or brick and mortar, that could help her out. Yet many of us can understand her frustration. With only 24 hours in each day and 168 hours in each week, it’s important for all of us to find ways to make every second count.

Let’s look at five ways to make the most of the time you do have:

Value every minute

One of the many benefits of working from home is that you don’t have co-workers dropping by your office to chat. When I worked for someone else, I lost track of the amount of time I spent listening to co-workers talk about their weekend, cry about their spouses and complain about our boss.

When you work for yourself, you don’t have to deal with co-workers’ problems and there’s no boss looming over your shoulder. That leaves you with more time to run your business.

When you’re facing an important deadline, let your voice mail take messages while you work. Also, take advantage of your flexible work-from-home situation by working on important tasks when you’re less likely to be interrupted (early in the morning or after everyone is asleep).

Stop postponing decisions

When you have several solutions to a problem, it’s not easy to decide which direction to take. Rather than waste time thinking about each choice, to the point that you start missing deadlines, make a decision and have a backup plan ready in case your first choice fails.

When you don’t make a decision, you come across as lacking confidence and having weak leadership skills. Not everyone can make decisions quickly and feel good about the decision, yet making some type of decision is better than not taking any action at all.

Deal with long-winded callers

When you call someone who has all day to talk, let him or her know up front that you have only a few minutes to talk. Ask the caller for the information you need or answer their question and then finish the call. If the caller starts to ramble, remind that person that you need to go and if necessary, you’ll call back later. Make sure your phone has caller ID so you can screen calls.

Reduce time searching for lost items

The old saying, “A place for everything and everything in its place” still rings true. If you take time to set up files, organize sales materials and store extra supplies, then when you bring something into your home office, you’ll know where it belongs. More importantly, when you need to find something, you’ll be able to find it easily. Save time looking for the supplies you need by keeping extra supplies in one place and storing the same types of items together.

Avoid being a Bouncing Ball

Are you the type of person who bounces from project to project without finishing a single one? If so, you could be a “Bouncing Ball,” someone who wants to accomplish everything, yet has trouble doing one thing at a time. The Bouncing Ball’s biggest problem is getting and staying focused.

The best rule of thumb for the bouncing ball is to keep it simple and to set up your office with as few distractions as possible. When you have fewer distractions, you’ll have more time to focus on anything that needs your attention.

You can’t increase the number of hours in each day, but you can reduce the number of hours that slip away from you. By recognizing various ways you waste time or noticing ways others steals bits of time from you, you’ll be able to take control over your time.

What do you do to save time while working from home?

Home office expert Lisa Kanarek is the founder of WorkingNaked.com and the author of five books about working from home, including Organize Your Home Office for Success. Lisa works with entrepreneurs and home-based employees through seminars and individual consultations, to create functional home offices that meet each individual’s working style.